~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


Dirty Little Secret ~ Thursday, March 23, 2006

My dirty little secret (don't worry, Tom knows) is that I read the ends of novels--usually when I'm about fifty or so pages in. Sometimes a little further--it depends on how engaged I am by the book, but certainly well before I actually reach the ending by reading the book in a linear fashion.

Why? Those who do not do as I do may well wonder. Tom is incredulous and cannot believe that I would "ruin it"--the reading experience--that way.

Several reasons.

Firstly, I am often disappointed in the resolution of a book (or of short stories that begin well and then just fall flat or get silly or in other ways. It just feels as if the writer didn't know where to take it, so he or she went for the easy way out--I am reminded of this as I read through some of the latest subs for Margin). Reading the ending for novels (it's not usually worth it for short stories, since they're short) at least assures me that it's not going to be an "it was all a dream" scenario or something equally silly and cliched. I don't always understand, out of context, what the resolution actually is, but if it seems interesting or reasonably complex, that's an assurance that I'm not going to be totally wasting my time.

Secondly, I often abandon books--if it doesn't hold me, I will put it down (sometimes with a touch of compunction, and sometimes with none at all) and will often not come back to it. Many are the books in my house with a bookmark still lurking somewhere amongst their pages. Reading the end will sometimes pique my interest and keep me reading to find out how the narrative reaches that end point.

Doing a quick skim over the final pages of a book generally just helps me determine if I think the book is worth the effort or not. Since for me the journey is at least as important as the destination--if not far more important--knowing the destination is worthwhile frees me to enjoy the journey with less of a niggling doubt about whether I'll be annoyed by the ending. Knowing the ending, for me doesn't ruin or undermine the journey, it enhances it.

As a writer, I also know how difficult it can be to craft a really satisfying ending--so I want some concrete assurance that the writer whose work I am reading has managed to do that, at least to some extent. I don't watch movies that way mainly because they're usually only a few hours long (aside from the logistics of trying to get to the end first, if it isn't on dvd)--a book is usually much more of a time commitment.

I should add, though, that there are some books or films where I haven't liked the ending but I've still felt the overall experience made the watching/reading worthwhile. But those tend to be the exception more than the rule.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 9:33 AM::::


P r o f i l e

Anduril Elessar
Susan Deefholts

::my complete profile::

I n v o c a t i o n

"O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention..."

- william shakespeare

R e l e a s e s

F o o t p r i n t s

"Rize" and Krumping
The plotting of a narrative
Gus Van Sant's "Elephant"
A Coup D'Etat
Dirty Dancing and the importance of packaging
Dot the "i"
Umoja and Monday Morning
Glorious Friday
32 short films about Glenn Gould and Rain outside
Hallo Marjorie

L i n k s

::my alter ego blog::
::now reading/watching blog::
::jorrie's blog::
::tamara's blog (rhymes with camera)::
::margin:exploring modern magical realism::

~ my photo sites ~

M e m o r i e s

:: December 2004 :: December 2005 :: January 2006 :: February 2006 :: March 2006 :: April 2006 :: May 2006 :: June 2006 :: August 2006 :: September 2006 :: October 2006 :: December 2006 :: January 2007 :: February 2007 :: March 2007 :: April 2007 :: May 2007 :: June 2007 :: July 2007 :: August 2007 :: September 2007 :: January 2008 :: February 2008 :: March 2008 :: April 2008 :: May 2008 :: June 2008 :: August 2008 :: September 2008 :: October 2008 :: December 2008 :: January 2009 :: February 2009 :: March 2009 :: April 2009 ::

C r e d i t s

style in obscuro

image from DayDreamGraphics.com

html coding by Ning

V i e w ' D

Free Blog Counter